Kenya is seeking to woo more airlines to fly into the country in order to boost the tourism sector, a senior government official said on Monday.
Najib Balala, Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, told a tourism forum in Nairobi that the tourism sector is under-performing due to limited aviation capacity in Kenya.
“We are pushing for the complete opening up of skies so that more airlines can bring more tourists into the country. We are going to encourage as many air operators to establish in Kenya so long as they meet civil aviation standards,” Balala said during the opening of a two-day National Tourism Stakeholder Forum to discuss the transformative journey for the tourism sector.
Balala said that a number of airlines in Africa, Middle East and Europe have been identified and will be approached to begin flying into Kenya.
Government statistics indicate that approximately 1.47 million international visitors came to Kenya in 2017 against a target of three million visitors.
Balala said that about ten airlines operate in Kenya with different number of frequencies. “We want to increase the number to over 20 so that we have more inbound travelers,” he added.
He said the country’s tourism sector is yet to reach its full potential despite abundant wildlife and beach destinations.
Balala said that Kenya’s tourism sector must adapt and innovate in line with global trends in order to increase its contribution to Kenya’s economy in terms of creation of more employment and income opportunities.